Christian Vazquez Having Best Season Since 2010
Christian Vazquez is in his fifth MLB season and is quietly putting together one of the best seasons by a Boston Red Sox catcher this decade. Vazquez’s production has been mostly overshadowed by the breakout seasons from Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts, along with the overwhelming disappointment from the team in other aspects. Victor Martinez‘s 2010 stat-line is the only one that rivals Vazquez in this decade.
To this point, the Red Sox catcher is hitting .283/.321/.486 with 19 home runs. To add some perspective, 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts is hitting .282/.384/.494 with 21 homers. Those 19 home runs have helped nearly triple his career home run total before the season. Vazquez now sits at 29 career bombs, as opposed to the 10 he had to start the season. Along with home runs, he is running away with career highs in runs, hits, doubles, RBI, walks, slugging percentage, and OPS.
Not only is Vazquez setting milestones across the board, but he has also been one of the most consistent bats in the Red Sox lineup all season long. Since May, Vazquez has had 28, 22, 23, and 23 hits in each month. He also hasn’t had an on-base percentage lower than .300 during that span.
Victor Martinez 2010
The only season that is statistically better this decade by a Sox catcher is Victor Martinez in 2010. That season “V-Mart” hit .302/.351/.493 with 20 home runs. Some catchers like Sandy Leon or Jarrod Saltalamacchia have seen seasons with 20-plus home runs or a .300-plus average, but nobody has been able to pull it all together in one season like Vazquez and Martinez.
Devers and Bogaerts haven’t done Vazquez any favors in terms of recognition. In any other season, Vazquez would likely be an All-Star. The fact of the matter is that these emerging stars are having MVP-like seasons, and have taken much of the spotlight from the catcher’s breakout season. Martinez in 2010 and Betts in 2019 — who’s stats are comparable to Vazquez — were both selected to the All-Star Game.
At this summer’s All-Star Game in Cleveland, Gary Sanchez started the game for the American League, and James McCann was named as a reserve. Vazquez however, was left off the roster. By mid-July, McCann had a slightly better slash-line than Vazquez, but relatively similar numbers overall. Sanchez, on the other hand, was batting .245 at the break — .054 points lower than Vazquez who was hitting .299. Although Sanchez was ahead of the game in home runs and RBI, he ranked 18th in the American League in batting average at the All-Star break.
There is one big reason that could be keeping Vazquez’s season in the dark. The reason is that this Red Sox season has been irrelevant from the jump. It started back in March when the Sox started with that abysmal west coast trip. The team currently sits in fourth place in the Wild Card race, just close enough to keep fans interested, but not close enough for families to be glued to their televisions. If the Red Sox were having a better season, Vazquez could be getting the recognition he deserves.
Embed from Getty Images